Carbohydrates and Type 2 Diabetes
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What do you think about Dr. Mary Vernons'treatment for type 2 diabetics where the patient cuts out almost all carbs out of their diet. Is this a permenent solution? What are the risks involed? Thank you for your time and advice.
As a diet-controlled Type 2 diabetic, I have been dealing with food issues relating to this disease for the past nine months. I will emphatically state that adequate nutrition is important to all individuals, especially diabetics. Carbohydrates (e.g. carbs) are essential to a balanced diet and in moderation can help you control the disease.
I am not familiar with the details of Dr. Vernon's treatment or her qualifications, though I am sure her intentions are well-founded. However, I think the following should be considered:
- While carbohydrates are frequently made up of sugars (that need to be closely controlled), many carbs are not and enable the slow digestive release of blood glucose components that help us avoid excessive spiking (sharp peaks and valleys) in our blood sugar levels. The carbs that help are referred to by my physician as "long-chain " carbs. These are processed slowly by our digestive system and are frequently found in certain vegetables and moderately processed grain products.
- Many Type 2 diabetics frequently suffer from other disorders. Diet extremes, such as extremely low-carbohydrate or high-protein approaches, can affect these diabetics. As an example, I am prone to gout, a disorder related to excess uric acid in the blood stream. Any significant restriction of carbohydrates may result in a relative increase of protein leading to higher uric acid concentration and, eventually, a gout attack.
- Vegetables are typically high in carbohydrates, compared to fats and proteins. Severely restricting carbs can lead to a dieter restricting good foods, like vegetables, and that is bad.
The need for weight loss often goes hand-in-hand with Type 2 diabetes. I controlled my diabetes with diet and exercise. Within six months of diagnosis, I was totally off of diabetes medication. In the process, I lost over 125 pounds. I did it while eating a balanced diet that contained a moderate level of carbs. My physician gave me some simple guidelines:
- Limit my daily caloric intake to approximately 1,000 calories less than my body uses. You can figure this out by going to www.caloriecontrol.org to find hard numbers on basic metabolism and calories burned for many common activities.
- We also burn a significant number of calories each day just to keep our hearts beating, our organs functioning, and our body heat at 98.6 degrees. This can be approximated by figuring around 12 calories per pound of weight. For a 150 pound person, that is about 1,800 per day. Add 600 calories of daily activity and exercise and you get 2,400 calories in your daily metabolism. A more than adequate diet of 1,400 calories of food intake per day will result in the above-mentioned 1,000 calorie differential and a weekly weight loss of 2 pounds per week! By the way, a pound of fat is roughly 3,500 calories. Therefore, when you eat 500 calories less each day than you burn, you lose weight at the rate of 1 pound per week. At 1,000 per day, then it is 2 pounds per week!
- The Doctor also suggested that for the calories I do consume, regardless of amount, they be divided into 50 percent carbohydrates (of which half are "long-chain"), 20 percent fats (limit saturated and allow no hydrogenated), and 30 percent protein. He increased the protein by 5 to 10 percent and reduced carbs by the same amount as my exercise level (and muscle building) increased.
That's how I did it and it worked! I've never felt better and all of my blood tests reveal that my overall health is excellent.